Results tagged ‘ Leo Nunez ’

Dominguez has stomach virus

JUPITER, Fla. — The stomach virus that has gone around Marlins camp has caught up to Matt Dominguez.

The 21-year-old third baseman was sent home on Tuesday morning. In recent days, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez, Brett Hayes and John Baker each have dealt with flu-like symptoms.

Dominguez is battling for the third base job, and he’s been struggling of late.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said a decision should be made on the third base job by the end of the upcoming weekend.

Dominguez is scheduled to make the trip to Lake Buena Vista on Wednesday to face the Braves.

While the Marlins would like to see Dominguez’s defense in the lineup, Rodriguez said: “We’re not going to force the situation.”

Other items of note from Edwin’s morning media session:

* Mike Stanton and Chris Coghlan are both playing the outfield in Minor League games on Tuesday. Both are expected to play for the Marlins on Thursday against the Red Sox.

Rodriguez sounds confident that both will be ready for the April 1 Opening Night game with the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

* Josh Johnson should throw 85-90 pitches on Tuesday against the Twins. Ryan Webb, Leo Nunez and Mike Dunn also are expected to pitch.

* Greg Dobbs is making his first start in the outfield on Tuesday, getting action in right field. Dobbs is a frontrunner to win the lefty bat off the bench job.

* Emilio Bonifacio, while a candidate to play either second or third base if Dominguez doesn’t make the team, also is an option in center field if Coghlan isn’t ready for Opening Day.

* Donnie Murphy is certainly in the mix to play third base.

* Rodriguez added that the final days of camp should be interesting because cuts made by other clubs could impact the Marlins. For instance, Florida may look to pick up a player or two who are released from other camps.

Joe Frisaro

Short takes from Edwin

From manager Edwin Rodriguez’s morning media session:

* Mike Stanton is taking live batting practice on the main field at Roger Dean Stadium. Stanton still isn’t doing any running drills, as he recovers from his strained right quad.

* Chris Coghlan is making his first back-to-back start of Spring Training, as he was in center field for the second straight day. The team is in the process of increasing Coghlan’s workload as he gets into playing shape after missing the second half of 2010 with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

* Closer Leo Nunez continues to impress. Rodriguez said that Nunez’s slider is becoming a plus pitch, to go along with his fastball and changeup.

* The pitching rotation for the next few days: Elih Villanueva will be starting against the Tigers in Lakeland on Tuesday. Javier Vazquez will face the Nationals on Wednesday in Jupiter. The Marlins play in the day and night on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium. Anibal Sanchez will pitch in the afternoon against the Mets, and Sean West will make his first start at night against the Tigers.

* Rodriguez on Matt Dominguez, the frontrunner for the starting third base job: “He is walking and playing like he belongs here. That’s good to see.”

Joe Frisaro

Finding a winning formula

Finding ways to win close games is one of the Marlins’ objectives in Spring Training.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez asked his staff on the first day of camp to come up with ways the team could pull out one and two run games.

leo1a.jpgAmong the suggestions was squeeze bunting and slap hitting. On Sunday, outfield coach Joe Espada worked with the pitchers on situational hitting. Specifically, they practiced squeeze bunting and slapping ground balls.

On the slap hit drills, the pitchers would turn to bunt, then bring the bat back and attempt to swat a grounder up the middle.

Some other highlights from Sunday:

* Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez and Leo Nunez each threw their second bullpen sessions since camp opened on Friday. Johnson, who missed the final month of last year with back and shoulder problems, is fine. He already is impressing with how well he’s throwing. Nunez is working on his slider, and Vazquez is building back up his arm strength.

* A number of position players filtered into camp early Sunday afternoon, including Hanley Ramirez. Mike Stanton, Omar Infante, Chris Coghlan, Emilio Bonifacio and Gaby Sanchez were among the players getting settled. Full-squad workouts begin on Tuesday.

* Pitchers and catchers will be on the field at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

JJ, Javy throw off the mound

The Marlins got their first glimpse of ace Josh Johnson throwing off the mound. And based on how the 6-foot-7 right-hander was releasing the ball it looked as if the two-time All-Star was in mid-season form.

jjST2-18.JPGJohnson threw a bullpen session on the first day of Spring Training at Roger Dean Stadium.

With John Buck catching, Johnson showed no signs of any carryover from the back and shoulder problems that caused him to miss the final weeks of 2010.

Also throwing off the mound on Friday was Javier Vazquez, a free agent acquisition who was with the Yankees in 2010.

Closer Leo Nunez threw off the mound for the first time, and he was re-united with Buck. The two formerly were teammates in Kansas City.

Chris Volstad also threw a bullpen session on the first day of camp.

After catching Johnson for the first time, Buck noted that the 27-year-old Florida ace is “special.”

“It was his first bullpen, and he wasn’t throwing 110 percent,” Buck said. “But I think after that pen he threw there, he probably could win 15 games. I know I haven’t even seen anything yet.” 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Encore Game on Fox Sports Florida

History will note that on May 29, 2010, Roy Halladay tossed the 20th perfect game ever in the Major Leagues. Halladay’s performance for the ages came at the expense of the Marlins, as the Phillies won 1-0.

What occurred the next day has pretty much been forgotten. There wasn’t anything historical, but what took place still was impressive.

The Marlins rebounded from being blanked by Halladay by posting a 1-0 win of their own.  Anibal Sanchez, who no-hit Arizona as a rookie in 2006, combined with Taylor Tankersley, Clay Hensley and Leo Nunez for the shutout. Sanchez scattered three hits, and the Phillies managed just four all afternoon. 

Marlins fans have a chance to revisit that gem at noon on Wednesday as part of Fox Sports Florida’s Encore Games package.

This May 30 game matched Sanchez against veteran Jamie Moyer, who has enjoyed years of success against Florida.

The Marlins needed six hits to win the game.

The Encore Games package is a reminder that Spring Training is swiftly approaching. Marlins pitchers and catchers begin workouts at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 18. Full-squad workouts start on Feb. 22.

Joe Frisaro

 

Nunez, Mujica reach agreement

The Marlins have reached agreement on one-year contracts with relievers Leo Nunez and Edward Mujica. Both right-handers avoid arbitration.

Nunez will head into Spring Training as the frontrunner to be Florida’s closer. Last year, he converted 30 of 38 save opportunities.

Nunez will earn $3.65 million, plus performing bonuses.

In two seasons with the Marlins, Nunez has saved 56 games. In 2010, the right-hander appeared in 68 games, and he logged 65 innings.

Mujica, arbitration eligible for the first time, was acquired from the Padres in the Cameron Maybin deal.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Winter Meetings leftovers

It’s no secret the Marlins are exploring lefty relief help. Randy Choate has been added to the mix of possibilities. Also on Florida’s radar is Joe Beimel.

In all likelihood, the team will add a veteran lefty, who projects to join Mike Dunn on the Opening Day roster.

As the lefty search continues, don’t rule out the Marlins eventually exploring the possibility of landing an experienced closer. At the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up last Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, representatives of the organization inquired about the availability of Padres All-Star Heath Bell.

After Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Red Sox, the Marlins checked to see if San Diego has more big moves ahead. For now, it appears Bell will be staying with the Padres. But that could change over the course of the next few months, and into the season.

The Marlins are planning on giving Leo Nunez the first shot at closing when Spring Training opens. Clay Hensley is a backup option.

* Manager Edwin Rodriguez offered a preliminary batting order for upcoming Grapefruit League games in March — Chris Coghlan (CF), Omar Infante (2B), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Mike Stanton (RF), Logan Morrison (LF), Gaby Sanchez (1B), John Buck (C) and Matt Dominguez (3B).

* Recently, Rodriguez came to terms on an endorsement deal with New Balance. “Edwin is honored as the first Puerto Rican-born Major League manager to be with New Balance,” said Burton Rocks, Rodriguez’s New York-based agent.

* Here are some contract details of recently signed Marlins. Burke Badenhop will earn $750,000 in 2011 after he avoided arbitration. John Buck’s three-year, $17,943,787 million contract includes base salaries of $4.5 million in ’11, $6 million in ’12 and $6 million in ’13. There also is a $1.5 million signing bonus, and incentives of $25,000 if he makes the All-Star Game and winning the Silver Slugger Award. He has a $50,000 Gold Glove bonus. Javier Vazquez’s one-year, $7 million deal includes a $25,000 All-Star bonus and a $100,000 bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award. Buck and Vazquez also can earn bonuses if the Marlins reach the playoffs and they are named MVP of either the League Championship Series or the World Series.

– Joe Frisaro
 

Hensley closing for now

Closing time will have a new look for the Marlins.

Clay Hensley, who has been the primary eighth-inning setup reliever, has been switched to closer in place of Leo Nunez.

Nunez, who is 29 of 37 in save opportunities, will now be in a setup spot. The team is hoping he can fine tune things without the pressure of logging the final outs.

In August, Nunez saved three of six games, and he had a 9.31 ERA in 9 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .391 against him in the month.

Nunez worked a scoreless eighth inning in the Marlins’ 6-1 win over the Braves on Friday night.

Because it wasn’t save opportunity, Burke Badenhop finished up the ninth inning.

Hensley has never logged a save in his big league career. But the right-hander has been steady in the bullpen. In 60 2/3 innings, his ERA is 2.67, and he has struck out 66 while walking 23.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Bullpen options for Baltimore

For the Marlins to get back over .500 and into realistic playoff contention, they need to solidify their bullpen.

There are more unanswered questions, even after Josh Johnson’s brilliant eight-inning start on Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Rays.

When Johnson is on the mound, the bullpen pretty much gets a day off. Only closer Leo Nunez was used to polish up the ninth inning for his 15th save in 18 chances.

After the game, the Marlins announced they had designated Jorge Sosa for assignment and optioned Jay Buente to Triple-A New Orleans.

The club has yet to announce which two relievers would be getting called up for their series at Baltimore, which begins on Tuesday.

Burke Badenhop doesn’t appear to be one of them. Badenhop opened the season with the Marlins, but was optioned to Triple-A last month. Jose Veras, who is not on the 40-man roster, also was on the Opening Day roster before being designated for assignment in April.

If the Marlins stay with pitchers on their 40-man roster, there is a candidate to keep an eye on. Jose Ceda, the 23-year-old who was acquired from the Cubs for Kevin Gregg after the 2008 season.

Now, Ceda missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. He was in Spring Training this season for a little while with the big league club.

Ceda is working his way back into shape at low Class A Greensboro, where he has thrown eight innings with five strikeouts and one walk. His ERA is 4.50, but three of the four runs he allowed came on June 5.

If Ceda doesn’t get the call as soon as Tuesday, he is a promising hard-thrower who likely will make his big league debut sometime this season. Ceda threw 30 innings at Double-A Tennessee in the Cubs system in 2008.

He remains a possibility to help the bullpen in the near future.

Veras, meanwhile, has appeared in 23 games at New Orleans. He’s struck out 35 and walked 15 in 28 1/3 innings. Veras pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday, striking out three, but walking two.

With Sosa designated for assignment, Veras could be added to the 40-man and active roster for Tuesday, if the team goes with him.

Kris Harvey, at Class A Jupiter, and Brett Sinkbeil, at Triple-A New Orleans, are other right-handed relievers who are on the 40-man roster. They may be in the mix, if not immediately then something this year.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Season-high eight walks wasted

The pitch that will be remembered is Leo Nunez’s 94 mph fastball that ran back over the plate and Matt Treanor drove to deep center for a two-run triple.

It was the decisive hit in the Rangers’ 3-2 comeback victory over the Marlins on Tuesday night.

leo-nunez-46-2009-mlb-florida-marlins.jpgThe sequence that is being lost in the outcome is the two-out walk to Julio Borbon, setting up Treanor’s game-changing pinch-hit. The Rangers had Josh Hamilton on third in a one-run game. The free pass to Borbon, the Ranger’s eighth hitter, put the potential go-ahead run on base. Treanor’s triple did the rest.

Perhaps Nunez was being more careful with a base open and Borbon being a left-handed hitter. Treanor bats from the right side, so the matchup seemed to favor Nunez. Regardless, the walk resulted in the winning run scoring.

Because Treanor’s hit ultimately decided the outcome, it overshadowed another significant fact on the night.

The Marlins were one out away from securing a victory on a night in which they had just three hits, including a two-run homer from Hanley Ramirez.

Even with a smattering of hits, the Marlins had a number of baserunners, courtesy of the Rangers staff. In all, the Marlins drew a season-high eight walks. Yet, only one of them scored. Setting up Ramirez’s home run in the sixth inning was a walk to Gaby Sanchez.

This season, the Marlins have drawn as many as six walks seven times. They are now 5-2 in those games. The other setback came on June 6 at the Mets, when they collected six walks in a 7-6 loss. On that day, however, the Marlins pitchers also walked six.

Capitalizing on free passes is crucial for any team. During the season, the Marlins offense has had as many as five walks in 17 games, and they are 10-7 in those contests. A reason their result isn’t better is because five times in those games, their own pitchers have walked at least five.

Perhaps if the Marlins had taken care of their free passes on Tuesday, Nunez wouldn’t have had to work with just a one-run lead in the ninth.

– Joe Frisaro

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